Dottie Mraz was a recent recipient of the National Association of Permanent Diaconate Directors Special Award presented "in recognition of her dedicated service to the promotion of the diaconate in the Diocese of Cleveland and the United States." Dottie is the widow of Deacon Phil Mraz, the mother of five children, a teacher, an author, and a lecturer. "It has been eighteen years since I first met Phil and Dottie Mraz. Phil was ordained for the Diocese of Cleveland in 1977. Both Phil and Dottie were a significant help to my wife, Linda, and me, as well as all of our classmates and candidates, as we went through the diaconate formation years. Phil and Dottie were present for my ordination and for my Mass of Thanksgiving in 1981, giving their love and support to me, my family, and my ministry which con- tinues even to this day.
I have been deeply touched by Dottie's openness in shar- ing her family's faith journey through the diaconate, their family's discernment of their call to diaconal ministry, their progress through formation and ordination, their coming to an understanding of diaconal ministry as service, their trust in God through Phil's illness and eventual death, and Dottie's continued support of diaconal ministry.
Dottle has always been willing to share her faith journey and has been present to those of us in diaconate not only in Cleveland but also around the country. After Phil's death in 1982, Dottie could have chosen to do many other things; but she continued her dedication to the ministry of diaconate by generously giving of her time and talent to write this book and become a nationally known speaker giving conferences and retreats to many diaconate programs and national diaconate organizations.
It was most fitting that she gave of herself so much in this way because Dottie has a beautiful story to tell, a story which is rooted in an understanding of diaconate as service, a story which sets an example for all in the diaconate who wish to imitate Jesus Christ who came not to be served but to serve. Through her book, she has shown us that a faith rooted in God's love and the love of those around us will enhance the good times and give us support through the difficult times.
Dottie shares with us that being the wife of a deacon is truly answering a call from God. A call which asks her to be a woman of deep faith and trust in God as she supports her husband in his ministry. A call which also asks her to use her gifts and talents as God has given them to her to be the person she herself is called to be.
We, in the Diocese of Cleveland, consider ourselves fortunate to have Phil and Dottie Mraz as a part of our diaconate family. It is through the example of serving people like them that diaconal ministry has been able to flourish and become a vital part of Church today. Diaconate is truly a life, a life lived in service. It is because of this that I highly recommend to you Ministry And The Family Of The Permanent Deacon by Dottie Mraz.
I am very pleased to have been asked by Dottie Mraz to write the introduction to this Second Edition of this book. I am very grateful to Jim Alt and Alt Publishing for their willingness to produce this Second Edition and therefore, enable more people to have the opportunity to share Dottie's faith journey as the wife and widow of a deacon. - Deacon Kenneth J. Piechowski
Director, Diaconate Office
Diocese of Cleveland
February 20, 1997
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